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Divided Arkansas State Medical Board approves ultrasound before abortion

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — A divided Arkansas medical panel has voted to require doctors to perform an ultrasound test on a patient before an abortion.

The Arkansas State Medical Board voted 7-6 Thursday to implement parts of a state law, which also requires doctors to tell a woman the likelihood of a fetus surviving if carried to term, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1tYsSnT ) reported.

The board initially rejected the regulation, 6-7, but one member asked for a second vote, saying he wanted to switch his vote to a "yes." He had wanted the board to approve the regulation "under protest," but its chairman said they could only vote to approve or reject it.

Some members objected to the regulation saying it interfered in the practice of medicine, while others said the law required the board's action.

Board member Scott Pace of Little Rock noted, "whether we pass a (regulation) or not, the law still stands."

Board member Jim Citty said, "I think it's not so much a woman issue as an unborn child issue ... passing this amendment simply shows these women that are pregnant that there is life on board."

Board member Omar Atiq opposed the regulation's requirements, saying they were "paternalistic" and "condescending."

"For laypeople, though most honorable and elected representatives, to tell the physicians how they should practice medicine, which is what I think this is trying to do, is just something that I just can't swallow," Atiq said.

The Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act initially banned most abortions 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy after state lawmakers overrode a veto by Gov. Mike Beebe.

But in March, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright struck down the law, saying it was unconstitutional and violated the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. She left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify a patient if one is present.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is appealing the judge's decision to strike the 12-week ban.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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PHOTO: In this Tuesday, July 8, 2014 photo, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel listens to testimony at a meeting of the Claims Review Subcommittee of the Legislative Council in Little Rock, Ark. A divided Arkansas medical panel has voted to require doctors to perform an ultrasound test on a patient before carrying out an abortion. The Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act initially banned most abortions 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. But in March, a federal judge struck down the law, saying it was unconstitutional.  The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Attorney General McDaniel is appealing the judge's decision to strike the 12-week ban. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

In this Tuesday, July 8, 2014 photo, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel listens to testimony at a meeting of the Claims Review Subcommittee of the Legislative Council in Little Rock, Ark. A divided Arkansas medical panel has voted to require doctors to perform an ultrasound test on a patient before carrying out an abortion. The Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act initially banned most abortions 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. But in March, a federal judge struck down the law, saying it was unconstitutional. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Attorney General McDaniel is appealing the judge's decision to strike the 12-week ban. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

 

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